The episode clocked the show’s best numbers in two years in household ratings in the country’s “metered markets” (of which Washington is one), NBC boasted Wednesday morning.
It bested the show’s Tuesday season average by about 30 percent and did even better than that among the 18-to-49-year-old viewers who are the currency of broadcast TV, though they’re only a slice of the 18-to-dead audience — the currency of Obama’s reelection bid.
If these local-market averages translate nationally the way “Late Night” does typically, Obama’s visit would wind up with roughly 2 million viewers.
That number could change, what with a POTUS appearance maybe skewing toward those major markets that are “metered” — or toward older viewers (who tend to be more interested in political programming). Nielsen won’t actually put out final numbers on Obama’s slow-jam of the news until a week from Thursday.
“You guys might have seen this in the news, but President Obama has asked Congress to stop the interest rate on Stafford student loans from going up this summer,” Fallon told an adoring college crowd toward the top of the Obama episode.
“I was going to make a joke about this news, but I don’t think it needs a joke. . . . That’s right, I want to slow-jam the news. And I’m not the only one!”
The curtain opened. Out walked Obama.
“I’m President Barack Obama. And I, too, want to slow-jam the news!” said Obama as the audience roared its approval. Backed by the show’s band, the Roots, they broke into the routine:
OBAMA: On July 1st of this year, the interest rates on Stafford student loans, the same loans that many of you use to help pay for college, are set to double. . . . I’ve called on Congress to prevent this from happening. What we’ve said is simple: Now is not the time to make school more expensive for our young people.
FALLON: Aww yeah! You should listen to the president — or, as I like to call him, the Preezy of the United Steezy. . . . Things are heating up inside of Congress’s chambers, behind all those closed doors. So the president made a few discreet calls across the aisle. He said: “Hey, let’s get together on this one.” . . .
(“If Congress doesn’t act, it’s the students who pay. The right and left should join on this, like Kim and Kanye,” sang the Roots singer Tariq Trotter, a.k.a. Black Thought.)
OBAMA: Now there’s some in Congress who disagree. They say keeping the interest rate low isn’t the way to help our students. They say we should be doing everything we can to pay down the national debt. Well, so long as it doesn’t include taxing billionaires. But their position is that students just have to make this rate increase work. Frankly, I don’t buy it.